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The Most Offensive F Word: “Failure”

“Drink and dance and laugh and lie; love the reeling midnight through. For tomorrow we shall die–(but,alas,we never do.)” ~ Dorothy Parker

I’m not exactly living the charmed life right now. In fact, I’m struggling with so many things, I’m not sure how to cope anymore.

The latest blow came in the form of work problems, where a company I’ve happily worked for since May of last year officially put me on probation for a month. Why? Because I have consistently been mentally and physically unable to keep up with my normal workload (which is around 3000 words a day) since developing this illness at the end of June. There are various reasons for this; while I can put out an e-mail or a blog entry of that length in an hour, the part of my brain responsible for creativity seems frozen. When I have to craft informative, witty, readable text a company would be proud to use, I put more thought and energy into it. I set a higher standard for myself. And the result is often me staring blankly at the screen for ages, not knowing what to put down, or how to be creative. At one time, I was able to write 3 articles within an hour. Now, I seem to move at the pace of a turtle and it can take me an hour to come up with something I’m happy to turn in…and I physically don’t have the stamina to work 9 hours a day.

I wish I did. But, after all this time, protracted periods of staring at the computer screen provoke dizziness, migraines, and occasionally panic attacks. I sometimes feel physically unable to do it, in the same way I sometimes feel physically unable to leave my house. On top of that, I’ve had doctors’ appointments and tests or someone messing with my medications—rendering me useless—nearly every week. These activities not only mentally and physically wear me out, but take hours out of my day, especially because friends have become increasingly unavailable to drive me places, and calling a taxi service is not only expensive, but, as in the case of last Monday, caused me an additional 2.5 hours of wait time (and then another hour waiting to see the doctor, and an hour of actually seeing a doctor.) That, combined with my need to sleep 12 hours a day (a side effect of my drugs I fight to overcome, but don’t always win.), means I need to expend more energy in a shorter amount of time to keep up, and I can’t. Mentally, physically, emotionally….I can’t keep up.

This company has repeatedly told me I’m one of their best writers. That being said, they’d rather emphasize reliability over quality. Lately, I’ve been failing on both accounts. What I turn in isn’t that great, and it isn’t always on time. They’re right. I’m just not keeping up, and I feel crushed by that. The result is that I’m making less money than I have in years, and my medical bills just pile up day after day. I feel more than overwhelmed.

I also avoid talking with certain other people in my life about these struggles, because the vibe I get back is not one of understanding. It’s one of “it’s all in your head”, “fix it”, “I’m tired of coming to your rescue”, and other forms of being perceived as the lazy teenager that just doesn’t want to work. In reality, it isn’t like that. Not at all. So I keep my struggles and my disappointments largely to myself.

Yesterday, I wrote a blog entry regarding some recent experiences, an outing with a friend of mine, and what was meant to be an examination of my own personal life experiences and feelings toward some issues. This friend was offended by my characterisation of him, and whether I did in fact insult that friend or not (and of course I did), the point was that I never intended to. I simply meant to talk about my feelings. An e-mail response I received calling out my words was hurtful and upsetting to me; nobody likes to be told that someone you hold in high esteem doesn’t necessarily reciprocate that viewpoint based on something you’ve said or done. Also, nobody likes the feeling of knowing a friend just doesn’t understand where you’re coming from, and that is completely your fault, because you are still too closed and too guarded to adequately explain it to them.

In some ways, it is preferable to be seen in one less-than-favourable light, than to risk vulnerability, and open yourself up. After a lifetime of becoming adept at knowing what to hide, and the limits of opening up in friendships, my life experience has taught me it typically IS preferable. I’ve since removed the blog entry from this page and apologised for the offense, but the entire experience caused me to feel hurt and isolated. I caused someone I like a good deal to feel insulted and bluntly point out negative aspects of my behaviour, thought processes, feelings, or even my character–some of which are likely true—and for someone of my personality makeup, that’s hard to hear.

On top of it all, there have been more frequent arguments with The Guy I Am Currently Dating, and I feel isolated and forgotten by those I’ve typically been closest to in my life. I feel as if people are simply out of time, patience, energy, and emotional support in dealing with me, because I’m out of those things to offer myself. I’ve been missing out on things I love, because I physically can’t handle my reactions to those environments, and because I don’t have the physical or emotional energy. It devastates me when this happens; I end up crying the whole way home because I feel I’ve let others down.

I feel as if everywhere I turn, everything I do, everyone with whom I interact…I’m simply failing them, isolating them, or causing them to view even talking with me as tiresome. Most of all, I feel I’m failing myself, and if it turns out my time on this earth is more limited than I’d like it to be, I’m spending it in the wrong way. I shouldn’t be using my days to become more estranged and disappointed with myself, and more overwhelmed by feelings of failure. I know I shouldn’t give up on hope, but it’s in short supply these days.

I just want myself back, the one who could keep up with anything, and had seemingly endless energy and enthusiasm. I miss that person who had friends and admirers around her because she knew how to be interesting, and lively, and positive. I miss that person who didn’t feel utterly forgettable, or worse yet, burdensome.

I don’t expect people to understand…but I feel as if I’m consistently drowning in my own failures or shortcomings. It’s a tough place to be.

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